I have a confession to make.
One of the things that irks me when I go to the movie theater is when the movie is done, the credits begin to roll and everyone gets up out of their seats and leaves.
Why do people do that?
No, seriously. We’ve just spent 2 hours investing our lives in this movie. We’ve paid good money (too much, if you ask me) to watch this film. Why are we all rushing to get up and leave so that we can sit in bottlenecked traffic in the parking lot trying to leave like everyone else? We can’t invest another four minutes of our lives to sit quietly and think about the film during the credits?
This may sound silly or nit-picky, but this is a big deal to me. I wish it were a bigger deal to other people, too. As followers of Jesus, we’re asked to love God with all of our minds. Why can that not include our time in the theater?
Some people go to the movies for amusement. “To amuse” literally means to “not think.” [a- not, muse - think]. I go to the movies because I want to learn and be moved by something. And I know its not very popular. My wife strongly dislikes when I do this. After the movie, she leans over, sighs and then whispers, “I’m going to the restroom. I’ll meet you in the lobby.”
And I sit there until the very end.
Until the music stops.
Until the lights come up again.
Until I’m the last person to nod politely to the teenager working minimum wage to sweep up the trash under the seats.
Why do I do this? Several reasons:
I learn things that all the other rushed moviegoers don’t. Who the stars are. When – and where – the movie was filmed.
I get to listen to a usually beautiful and thoughtful song or two.
And I get a chance to slow down and think.
9 times out of 10 I’m the only one left in the theater. But I don’t care. The best mental processing of the film happens while the credits roll.
Sometimes the film has moved me deeply. I’ve felt something significant. During the past two hours the film may have made me laugh or cry or think in new ways or I’ve been appalled – or all of the above. Something moved me deeply. Why rush onto the next thing until I’ve paused long enough to ask why? Does the bottlenecked parking lot offer me a better environment to process what I’ve just learned? Hardly.
As the credits roll slowly, I try to ask myself these sorts of questions:
-Why did the director invest so much time and energy (and money!) into making this film?
-If he/she were next to me, what would they want me to feel/think? What would I tell them?
-How does this film impact my life or how I think about how life is lived?
-Where did I see beauty? Where did I see brokenness?
-What values run contrary to the gospel story? What values are consistent with the gospel story?
-Where did I observe beauty? Where did I observe brokenness?
-What does this tell us about life? Is this consistent/inconsistent with my worldview?
-Why did that one scene make me cry? What was it deep within me that moved me so much? Why did I become angry when she did that? Why did I laugh when he said that?
-How am I to respond to this film now? Was it just simply ‘entertainment’ or is there a deeper reason behind why this film was created?
-What implications does this film have on how I interact and care about God? How I interact and care about people?
Next time you’re at the theater, try it. I dare you.
Resist the urge to get up and run to your car like everyone else. Just sit there.
Tell your friends and family members what you are doing before the movie starts. Tell them after the film is done they can go to the restroom and meet you in the lobby. (It’s an extra four minutes. They can handle it). And, hey, you’ve already paid for it.
Why not enjoy the film all the way to the end? Sometimes you may see some outtakes or even find an extra (hidden) portion of the film that others miss (remember the extra ending of Napoleon Dynamite?)
Don’t just do something – sit there.
Relax. Be still. And think.
I dare you.